Free speech for FNC members has always been part of UAE’s constitution
ABU DHABI // Since the inception of the UAE Constitution, FNC members have been entitled to freely express their opinions and represent all nationals.
“A member of the FNC represents the entire people of the UAE and not merely the emirate which a member represents,” article 77 says.
Furthermore, “a member of the FNC is not accountable for any opinions or views he expresses while performing his duties in the FNC”, according to article 81.
Article 86 makes council sessions public, with the possibility of closed sessions “upon the request of a representative of the Government, the Speaker of the FNC, or one third of the FNC’s members”.
To avoid conflicts of interest, article 4 of the FNC’s bylaws states that a member may not hold a public office in the Federal Government or ministerial office during his membership.
Article 18 prohibits the “investigation proceedings, search, arrest, imprisonment or any other criminal action, except with permission from the FNC”, of a member while the body is in session.
“A person who takes the floor may not say indecent or degrading words offending other persons or authorities,” article 75 of the bylaws says.
“If a member commits any such act, the Speaker attracts that person’s attention. In case of disagreement, the FNC decides on the matter without holding any debate.”
Constitutional reforms in 2009 extended the duration of a term from two years to four.
Another constitutional amendment gives the council the responsibility of setting its own bylaws to provide it with more independence.
In addition, article 91 states: “The President of the UAE determines, by decision, the international treaties and conventions that must be referred to the FNC for consideration before they are approved.”
Published: February 11, 2016 04:00 AM